My arts-immersion sabbatical concludes this weekend with a final digital photography workshop. Though my project continues I wanted to pause here to synthesize some of the important points I've discovered (or re-discovered) for framing an academic writing course as a course in wordcraft:
- Materials, Tools, and Instruments
- Rituals and Routines
- Techniques and Strategies
- A Community of Peers, Mentors, Apprenticeship, and Heroes
- A Making-Based Learning Structure
- Models, Counter-Models, and Radical Innovation
- Habits of Mind
- Lots and lots of practice
Identifying with your work: approaching each project as an experience in which you are intentionally developing a craft and your own craftmanship.
Noticing deeply: making it a practice to observe your surroundings closely, expecting to see things worth seeing and when choosing something to observe, devoting substantial time to the experience, and returning to the site or object repeatedly to observe it from different perspectives noting new details.
Using all your senses: being open to your embodied experience of any source of inspiration, both in terms of how it affects you (ex: a delightful fragrance, a painful emotion) and in terms of how you can use your body to experience it more fully (ex: representing your experience through movement or using senses other than your eyes to encounter additional dimensions of it.
Questioning and dialogue: continuously questioning what something is what else it might be, being attentive to the ways it responds to your questions as well as to other sources of potential questions and responses.
Persistence and resourcefulness
Identifying patterns and making connections
Experimenting / envisioning possibilities
Experiencing, using, and exhibiting empathy: Seeing your work as having consequences for someone other than yourself—as a representation of social conditions, as an object to be used and/or enjoyed, as a product dependent on shared resources, as a touchstone for dialogue, etc.—and composing your work in a way that is responsible, ethical, and compassionate.
Synthesizing / making meaning
Taking action / expressing your insights and experiences
Reflecting and self-assessing
Contextualizing: Working in a way that is mindful of how your exploration and creation connect to works done by others and to sources of inspiration kindred to those informing or inspiring your own work.